Booking a hotel can be one of the most expensive parts of your vacation, but you can save yourself some significant cash in a matter of seconds. It all comes down to knowing the right questions to ask.

CTV's consumer reporter Lynda Steele called up a number of hotels, including the Westin Grand on Robson Street. When she asked for the standard rate at the Westin she was quoted $259 plus tax.

But when she asked more questions, the rate suddenly got better.

If you were to pay up front, the rate dropped to $228 per night. If you are a BCAA member the rate slides to $219, and if you live in B.C. or Alberta the rate becomes $209 a night. In less than 30 seconds, the room rate dropped by $50 per night.

"If you just keep asking the same question, "Hey, is there any way of getting a better deal?" it might make them think of looking at another option," said Brian Feldbloom from Flight Centre Canada.

If you think those online hotel booking sites like Hotwire and Priceline offer cheaper deals, think again.

The Sutton Place Hotel encourages potential guests to do the math before booking with an online middle man. The taxes and fees charged by for example, can add as much as 24% more to your final bill. Hotels charge just under 16%.

"It really is best to come to the hotel direct. It's a little bit of a complicated business. Marketing on websites often says wait for the last minute. As a hotel we like to offer our guests the best rates when they plan ahead," said Kyle Matheson of the Sutton Place Hotel.

Guests who book four to six weeks in advance get offered the best deals and promotions. And travel experts say if you're looking for a really good price, consider location.

"If you go into a central business district, probably get your best rate on the weekend because all the business travelers are gone," said Feldbloom.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele